08/15/2016

Headed back to Sedgefield Country Club in North Carolina where last year’s Sunday featured one of the most unlikely exciting Sundays of the entire PGA Tour season.

Featuring an overall scoring average well under 69, this golf course is not one of the strenuous sites to play on Tour. Well, in golf, it’s all relative. Must-make difficult 6-footers for par on a difficult course can pack the same punch of pressure as a 14-footer for birdie at a birdie haven. It’s all relative.

But this event last year was thrilling fun. Tiger Woods tends to do that.

Let’s get into this week.

Course

 

View the entire course here 

Last 5 Winners

2015: Davis Love III (Read more about his improbable win)

2014: Camilo Villegas (Read more here)

2013: Patrick Reed (Watch more here)

2012: Sergio Garcia (Read more here)

2011: Webb Simpson

2010: Arjun Atwal (Read story here)

This Week’s Picks

Three from the Fairway (Contenders)

Robert Garrigus

Playing with his new putter, Garrigus has put together a few good starts in a row now. Five of his last 6 starts on Tour have yielded top-25 finishes. And this course at Sedgefield fits him and his game quite well.

Now Garrigus has made noise with his putter before–and now he’s making noise again. His Cure Putter feels like it takes up a majority of the space on my TV screen, but he’s really effective with it. A Garrigus who’s putting solid, is a Garrigus who can play really well.

Hideki Matsuyama

Ignore his back-to-back missed cuts here. He’s Hideki Matsuyama. With his status on Tour and his quality of game, if the course didn’t fit his game, he wouldn’t voluntarily show up here. He was a T15 three years back. I wouldn’t be concerned about his course history the past two years.

At the PGA Championship, he seemed to find his game again. He finished with a T4 and played well at a course which makes complete sense for him to play well at (loaded with long, quality par-4s). When checking the stat lines, Matsuyama is still among the Tour leaders in strokes gained, especially in ball striking categories. Driving isn’t critical here, but iron play is. Matsuyama’s bout as good as they get. I’m poppin’ Matsuyama in my starting lineup this week.

Webb Simpson 

Now course history isn’t a huge factor, but if there’s a horse for the course, it’s gotta be Webbers.

He hasn’t finished outside the top-25 here since 2009 and has been inside the top-10 4 different times. Recently, he’s played the weekend in almost every event this year (no jinx) and he better turn in some high finishes unless he wants to call Davis Love III for a late Ryder Cup roster spot.

Simpson is a safe bet here at the Wyndham.


One from the Rough (Sleeper)

Rhein Gibson

Whenever I think of Gibson, I can’t help but think of his scorecard. That epic score.

But since, he’s carved out a place on the PGA Tour. His play, although not solely on the PGA Tour, has been pretty good. Last week’s MC at the John Deere should take with it a piece of optimism given he fired 66 on Friday before packing his bags.

Since he’s in the bottom half of the PGA Tour, of course his game will feature negatives throughout strokes gained, but his one statistic where he’s positive are the strokes gained: approach to green. At Sedgefield, it’s ball striking into the greens that’s key. And he’s top-50 in distance off the tee, too.

This is a mega sleeper, but one that may pay off.

One with the Trophy (Winners)

Jason Dufner

He’ll be a two-time winner in 2016. Jason Dufner likes even numbered years (note: 2014 & 2012).

In his last 16 starts, Dufner has played the weekend in 15 of them. He hasn’t played much lately, and when I see that and I like a guy to play well, I always take the optimistic route. I tell myself, “he’s rested, he’ll play great.” So there. Dufner is rested.

On courses that require precision into the greens, Dufner is at his best. This isn’t a demanding course off the tee and it’s all in the putter for Dufner. If he’s hot, watch out. But worst case scenario this week, even a cold putter I feel Dufner will still threaten a solid top-25. But we’re not in this bottom part of the section to pick top-25s! We’re picking winners.

Dufner for the win!